March 31, 2012

how beautiful...

It's friday night, late, and I've been pouring over this video interview with Katie Davis. Kisses From Katie lays on the near-by coffee table. 

I am learning these truths hard:

- my life is not about me, it's about Jesus

- God asks me to be faithful with what is in front of me each day, in the places and circles He opens to me

- God works amazing things when I say yes to the needs in front of me

- God loves all his children, all around the world, He does not want one to go without clothing, food and shelter. He is a father to the fatherless.

- as one who has been given much, I have a responsibility to share much

The video is 54 mins long, you may have to stop it every 10 mins to continue on with your day, you may have to wait until the kids are in bed, or the daily work is done, but somewhere, at some time, please watch it. You will not be the same.


Katie asserts, she is just a normal person who keeps saying yes to the needs God places in front of her. Her experiences in Jinja Uganda, the birth of Amazima Ministries, her insights into adoption and her heart for the people will make you chuckle (33:53 is one of my favourite lines...) and may bring a tear to your eye. Above all, Katie is real, sweet, and deeply in love with God. I think she is my hero.

(at the end of the video, David Platt jokes about 'Mormonizing' the mission trip types but they are speaking at a Baptist church... so I think it was a joke...)

Deep in my heart, I've been asking 'what can I do? what is in front of me today?' 

Over the course of this week (and really - this month and year) God has been prodding my heart. I know a small piece of what it is like to lose everything, to see my town completely devastated. I know what it is like to walk into a polished shopping mall in old shorts and an old t-shirt which I slept in the night before, smelling like wildfire smoke, and wonder what people are thinking. But I don't know what it's like to not know where my next meal is coming from, to have no social security net, no support system, no parents. I have lost, but I still have so much. At times it has frustrated me and I've felt like fleeing the country screaming, repulsed at how we are lulled to sleep by the distraction of things. Unimportant, material, non-eternal things.

God is not interested in our pursuit of happiness-in-things. He desires our love, because he first loved us. He desires a relationship with us, and out of that relationship, a love for others and a passion to serve Him and share with those who are in need.

Those in need may be across the ocean, or right next door. Just say yes.

Tonight I pray for wide-open eyes and a willing heart. I'm praying for the courage and the wisdom to say yes. I'm praying that God would saturate us with his love, so we can pour into the needs around us. Is there anything I can pray for you? Drop a note and let me know :)

I'll close with a few verses which hit home for me this week,
excerpts from Romans 8:

15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.[f] And by him we cry, “Abba,[g] Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

and Romans 10:

14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”[g]




March 28, 2012

Possibility from Endings


"If our hope is only in our circumstances, as we define them to be good or as we want them to be to make us happy, we will always be disappointed. That is why we hope, not in circumstances, but in God. He has continually, over the span of four thousand years, revealed himself to be a God of newness, of possibility, of redemption, the recovery or transformation of possibility from endings that goes beyond what we can think or even imagine (Eph 3:20)."
{via}

"Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds." (John 12:24 NIV)

"If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it"  (Matt 16:25 NLT

March 26, 2012

If we've ever needed You...

This morning I awoke groggy, my body a ball of tension. My stomach churns, restless after a night of vivid dreams, my mind swimming in an avalanche of thought.

Most of the thoughts center around our un-forseeable future, this time of year being the time schools take stock of staff, budgets and plans for the fall. We have decisions to make. Big ones. Do I let go of a sure thing for an un-sure thing? Neal is confident, I am not. The 'what if' parasite attacks...

I get up and pace the cold kitchen floor, restless. Returning upstairs, freshly-awake eyes meet mine,

"You're up early"

"Yep, just restless"

And so begins a quiet morning conversation, heart trying to be brave, yet eyes leaking a few tears when I can finally say,

"I'm worried. I'm worried about our future. I know in my head that God is in control, and faithful, and a provider, but I don't know if I know it in my heart."

In a way only he (and He) can, I hear in return,

"Not to be argumentative (this is a recent inside joke of ours...) but I think you do know these things in your heart and it's your head that's having a hard time with it."

In the foggy light of morning realization dawns.

I do know these things in my heart. Time and time again have I experienced God's faithfulness and provision, yet time and time again I forget and let worry control my mind.

This heart knowledge, it needs to seep into my head. Only truth conquers the endless swirl of thought. My heart trusts, and my head must to follow.

My prayer today is 2 Corinthains 10:5,

"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

Together we will round up those worry-thoughts and cast them aside like the smelly beans I chucked out of the fridge this morning. I will nurture truth in my heart, until it saturates my daily thoughts.

He's got this. I do not need to be afraid.





March 23, 2012

Retro Friday - Dress Pretty

One of the many reasons I get excited at the arrival of spring is the opportunity to wear skirts and dresses. Away with the thick denim and dress pants!

Here are a few little numbers that caught my eye on-line:


             

Dress 1 credit                                             Dress 2 credit                                             Dress 3 credit

I find myself drawn to their feminine patterns and pretty little details. 

One of the more enjoyable aspects of having to replace all your clothes is the opportunity to start a completely fresh wardrobe. What better time to change-up your wardrobe than in your 3rd decade? 

Though I do not like to be materialistic, there is some joy in hunting for that perfect spring dress!

Oh, and these pieces should tag along too:





Hat found here
Shoes found here

I'm thinking they would go well with my sweet little navy dress with a crocheted lace collar and hem that I found on our girls weekend... (photo to come once the weather warms up!)

What's your favourite piece of spring attire?

March 22, 2012

especially for Laura...

who had a veggie burger on our trip that claimed to be "the best one you will ever have"... and wasn't very good. Maybe there is no such thing as a good veggie burger? 

Fortunately the not-very-good veggie burger came with a delicious side of yam fries - a spin on veggies that has really taken off. I first got hooked on yam fries at Boston Pizza, but these home-made ones take the blue-ribbon over BP's version!


The recipe can be found on The Three Cheeses Food Blog - pick up some sweet potato and all other ingredients will already be in your cupboard! I did add the flour suggested, and since I was too lazy to measure out 1Tbs of egg white I just put one whole egg white in.

"Perfect Yam Fries" certainly did  live up to the claim of their title... unlike the veggie burger.

They are fabulous.

And since I am lucky enough to be the only one in my household who enjoys such a treat, I'm off to eat the other half of the pan...


March 21, 2012

Times of Refreshing

Every girl - whether married, single, young, old, with kids or without kids, can use times of refreshing, special get-away times to re-focus and renew.

I enjoyed such a weekend recently as a group of friends and I headed out to the Rockies for a much anticipated get-away.



We stayed in a gorgeous suite and enjoyed home-baked goodies with a healthy dose of junk-food, times of rest, magazine and book-reading, movie watching, mountain-town shopping, photo-taking, nail painting, late-night chatting and pretty dress-modelling.



We also enjoyed entertaining the littlest guest, who spent the weekend much like we did, eating, sleeping, smiling (and modelling for my camera)...




such a cutie!

Enjoying the time away also meant balancing the feeling of freedom with missing the men and littles who belong in our lives, just enough to really appreciate coming home.


Times of refreshing,
Here in Your presence;
No greater blessing
Than being with You.

My soul is restored,
My mind is renewed;
There’s no greater joy Lord,
Than being with You.

~Marty Nystrom~



March 15, 2012

blessed

to be featured on Beautifully Rooted today. This blog is a wonderful place of encouragement and inspiration, I admire each of the women who contribute. If you have not yet visited, give it a click on my side-bar and enjoy!


The Lifter of my Head

If you see me in passing you may never guess.
Not that I try to hide, but these inward scars are invisible to outward eyes.
Some days I feel on top of the world, or at least on top of what is on my plate for the day.
Other days I struggle through, taking refuge in tear-stained sleeves,
wrestling with a weighty grief,
a rented house which is all too quiet,
arms missing a little fur ball,
mind flashing memories of all that was lost.
Old securities and perspectives are no longer an option.
I have changed.
Losing has changed me.

Grief counseling will teach you that new traumatic events will bring back memories of old traumatic events, magnifying them.
Some days my heart swims in a cocktail of loss, remembering…
a miscarriage,
a divorce,
and a wildfire.
Much loss for one just entering her 30's.

These events are not good.
But I know Someone who Is.

Through challenging circumstances, wholesale loss, deep grief, un-met desires and the pain of letting go of my life, there is One who has never let me go.

When I am weak, He is my strength.
When I am hopeless, He is my hope.
When I let go, He catches me.
When I weep,
He comforts me.

Through stormy days and sunny ones, He is there.
The one and only constant in this world.

"But you are a shield around me, O Lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head."
Psalm 3:3 (1984 NIV)

As a flower turns its face to the sun, so Jesus turns my heart to Himself,
and I rest in His faithfulness.

March 13, 2012

love your neighbor

I am so excited to be donating a few of my new spring-line scarves for a very worthy cause!

A young woman, Angel Rock, has recently lost her husband and her father-in-law in a cabin fire. Adding to the tragedy is the fact that this young woman is due to give birth to their first child in a month or so.

Angel's situation really touched my heart, and many others have been hard at work to help out - producing a book, having a bake sale, donating income from home based businesses etc. My friend Chelsea (with her beautiful servant-heart) has master-minded a 'Glamour Day' event, with proceeds from many vendors donated to Angel and her soon-to-be born son. If you are a local - please check out the event details, it will be a-mazing!!

Here are the scarves that will be there;

If you are a local - please check out the event details, it will be a-mazing!!
Event details found here.

"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity"
Proverbs 17:17




March 12, 2012

In which I reveal a bit-a-crazy...

Snippets of a day in my head.

{via}

1) Wake up feeling totally un-motivated to accomplish anything, remember your sweet husband (who has a 12hr work-day ahead of him) asked if you could renew the registration on the car.

2) Spend 20 minutes looking up the registries office in the town you recently moved to, find directions, and commit the name of the registries office to memory (a directionally-challenged coping strategy) for fear you will drive past and miss it.

3) Spend half an hour in the house and 10 minutes in the car trying to find the slip of paper the renewal notice was on, which you put in a 'safe place' until it was closer to renewal time. Find the renewal notice from last year in the glove-box and drive off, hoping this will be enough information.

4) Begin driving to the registries office and find yourself in the car-wash as there was no line up today (unlike yesterday when you left the house to wash the car and forgot about a batch of muffins in the oven).

5) Drive to the registries office (rejoice that you found it) and proceed to parallel park on the narrow street, not too bad, but kinda crooked. *No vehicles were harmed in the parking of this car*

6) Enter the registries office with your fistful of paper and begin explaining your situation to the perky counter attendant. Perky counter attendant will notice that the address on the old renewal slip is different than the one on the insurance paper and will proceed to tell you that your husband will have to authorize the fact that you want to renew the registration as only his name is on it (like I'm stealing it from him?). Oh-lands lady, do not get me started on names and addresses... you're talking to someone who has been divorced and re-married, not to mention moved a few times in the last 10 years. Ask nicely if you can just use the old address, get a negative answer. Oh well, buck-up, take the form, say 'thank-you' to the now not-so-perky counter attendant and head out the door. Feel disappointed you could not do this one little thing to help your hubs.

7) Stop at WalMart to pick up a few food items. Abandon your usual methodical sweep for a stream-of-conciousness-even-though-I-have-a-list walk back and forth between food sections. Remember as you are getting into line that you forgot eggs. Head to the back of the store to get eggs.

8) Bring groceries home. Pile bags onto the kitchen floor. Look over at your laptop sitting on the table and decide now is the time you should check your e-mail. Find a frustrating e-mail from your insurance adjuster. Spend the next 20 min composing a scathing retort using many big words. Re-read and remove the scathe, leave just enough burn to get your point across.

9) Look across the kitchen and *what were you thinking?* remember you had groceries to put in the fridge. Eggs, yes, and also frozen yogurt that is now not-so frozen.

10) Vent on Facebook about how you would like your insurance adjuster to meet his untimely demise.

11) Randomly discover the bag of Oreo birthday cookies. Take solace in a few cookies instead of meditating on Matthew 5:44 which reminds you to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

12) Take a deep breath and begin a blog post in which you reveal the crazy in your head.

And that's where we're at!

If anything, I hope this crazy-ness made you feel normal, dear reader.

As for me, I feel a cup of book and a good tea coming on...
I mean...
yeah.

March 10, 2012

the weight { wait }


There are times when the words of another articulate exactly how you feel,
even better than you can yourself.

I felt this recently as I read Chelsea's album description from our photo shoot back in February.

Here are the words which touched my core;

"I wanted to be able to incorporate all of their love, loss and hope in this shoot and really had an emotional moment when Andrea and Neal brought out their house numbers that they had salvaged from the pile of ash that was now their home.

I was posing the couple for the shot with the numbers and began to place it in their hands. The weight of the number took me off guard. It was not the metal number itself that held the weight, but the chunk of foundation that was cut from their previous house. 

I wondered if they felt the same weight, not physically, but emotionally. Maybe they felt the weight of their past lives, their fear of the unknown future, the loss of their "fur baby", the stress of dealing with insurance and the rebuilding... Then I passed the second number and felt the same weight, but looked at the couple who are each other's everything and seemed so content; and thought maybe they felt this weight as something that has made them stronger, allowed them to remain rooted in life, allowed for a new start with their foundation and maybe the weight was something that they carried with a content heart because it was part of God's plan in their life."

Thank you Chelsea, for putting words to feelings I have yet to describe, for being a sweet friend and for serving God in all you do!

xo Andrea




March 8, 2012

Retro Friday - pretty toasters...

(a Thursday evening post as I'm a workin' woman tomorrow!)

Remember the all-white appliances of the 90's?
Where all bright colour from the 60's and 70's was mocked and shunned? 

Well, no more.

Colour is baaaack!

And popping up in interesting places, like toasters...

here is a little colour sampling from Dualit and Hamilton Beach,


White is timeless - but even my intensely practical side caves at these little pops of colour in the kitchen. Then my financially frugal side pipes up at the price tag... perhaps Black & Decker will jump on the colour-bandwagon? I hope so.

Happy { retro } Friday!


March 5, 2012

make Lego models...

 
** a post in which I geek-out over Lego **

Hehe... 
here is a snapshot of Sunday night and Monday all-day efforts to put together my mini dream vehicle!


Worked up to book II...


This model boasts un-believable details! Black & white tile floor, little pot and scrub brush by the sink, posters on the wall, foldable seats, and look at the dashboard! The gas, clutch, brake pedals and indicator stick are all moveable...


there are plaid curtains on each window...



and the famous pop-top!


Here she is... all pretty...



Maybe once I double my current age you will find Neal and I bombing around the East Coast in our own life-sized version...
until then...
Peace Out!

March 3, 2012

3 tens and a 1...


{ who knew that Oreo and I share a birthday? these lovelies smell like angel-food cake, reminding me of childhood birthdays }  YUM...

This past Monday was spent as an all-day date with the hubs to celebrate my birthday. We both booked the day off (sooo nice to do as a substitute!), had a leisurely french-toast breakfast and headed out to West Ed. to shop and stroll around.

Here's a peek at some of the birthday joy:


#1 - Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis - I've dreamed about reading this since I found out about it! There was one copy in Chapters - and I took it home!


#2 - Neal found a LEGO, yes a LEGO VW van. Crazy or what! The box says 16+, the manuals are like university textbooks - and yes manuals - as in - there are two of them. A VW pop-up van is my pipe-dream-road-trip vehicle. I've even found a place down in Cali that retro-fits and overhauls vintage VW vans, making them like new (only better!). I'm anticipating some good quality time with Neal putting this baby together!


 #3 - Mom found these pretty little plants at Costco, they work really nicely with the red-potted plants I had in my classroom last year (plants which came back after surviving 4 weeks of drought when the wildfires hit).


#4 - These little guys followed me home after a walk through the Disney store.. I decided to keep them...

One of the cutest things ever is Eeyore's little tail,
which velcro's off and is held on by a ribbon!

His pudgy-super-soft self is the cuddliest thing. Yes, I'm a kid at heart...

We also spent an afternoon chocolate-cake-eating and visiting with my parents and grandparents at our place. Overall, a great way to celebrate!

"The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy."


March 2, 2012

Retro Friday - printable recipe card


Why - hello Friday! You sure snuck up on me this week!

I am excited to share a sweet free-printable recipe card from My Girl Thursday with you, it is certainly going to be sent to my printer soon...


print your very own here

If you are on the lookout for more free printables, be sure to check out Take Joy Designs - my new free printables site!